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July 5, 2010

Norway: 2010 Norwegian Premier League (aka Tippeligaen), the 16 clubs, with 2009 attendance figures, and all-time list of Norwegian football league champions.

Filed under: Norway — admin @ 4:37 am

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The official name of the Norwegian Premier League is Tippeligaen, for sponsorship reasons. The 66th season of top flight football in Norway began the weekend of 14th March 2010. After 14 rounds, the season went on hiatus in early June (for the 2010 World Cup), and the league was re-started the weekend of 3-4 July. So at the exact half-way point in the season, Norwegian giants Rosenborg (of Trondheim in north-central Norway) sit at the top of the table, 3 points above Tromso (a club that is located north of the Arctic Circle) and 5 points above Valerenga (of Oslo).

Fixtures, results and table (at Soccerway.com), Norway Tippeligaen 2010 fixtures, results, table.

On the main map and chart page there are 2 lists…at the lower left, I have listed all the clubs in Norway that drew over 1,000 per game last season…this ended up being all 16 clubs in the 2009 Norwegian Premier League and 9 clubs in the 2009 second tier, which is the Norwegian First Division.
And at the top left, there is the all-time list of Norwegian league champions. An unusual feature of football in Norway is that the Norwegian champion is, officially, the national cup-winner, not the national-league winner, the way it is most everywhere else. [It might be that way officially, but the winner of the Norwegian Cup does not get a chance to play in the UEFA Champions League, like the Norwegian league winner does, so who's kidding who...]. [The Norwegian Football Cup is not being covered here.]

The Norwegian Premier League (aka Tippeligaen) is currently the 22nd-highest-ranked by UEFA for European competitions {see this, from Bert Kassiesa’s site}. It’s average attendance was the 15th highest in Europe (even higher than the Portuguese Liga), and the 22nd-highest drawing association football league in the entire world, but has probably dropped a couple notches, because that list was for around a year or so ago, and the Norwegian Premier League has seen a dip in cumulative average attendance from 10,485 per game in 2007, to 8,956 per game in 2009. [source: The Best Eleven.com...'World Soccer Average Attendance List'].

In 1937-38, the Norgesserien , or League of Norway, began play. Two seasons later, the league was forced to shut down for what turned out to be 8 seasons, due to the German invasion and onset of World War II and then it’s aftermath.
One season after resuming play, the league was renamed the Hovedserien , or Main League, from 1948 to 1962. Then the Norwegian top flight used the name 1.divisjon from 1963 to 1990. The current name of Tippeligaen was instituted in 1991. [The word Tippe refers to the league's sponsor, Norsk Tipping, which is the national lottery of Norway.]

Below, the Lerkendal Stadion, home of Rosenborg BK, of Trondheim, Norway…

The most successful club in Norway are current reigning league champions Rosenborg BK, who have won 21 Norwegian league titles, including 18 of the last 22 titles (and were champions 13 straight seasons from 1992 to 2004). One could call them the Bayern Munich of Norway, seeing as how Rosenborg, like Germany’s Bayern Munich, has the lions’ share of league titles in their country, but both clubs did not become the dominant club in their nation until recent times. Rosenborg are from the north-central city of Trondheim, which has a population of around 171,000 {2010 estimate}), making it the fourth-largest urban area in Norway. Trondheim is a center of education and of technical and medical research. Rosenborg Ballklub has the nickname of Troillongan, or “the Troll Kids”.
Rosenborg BK have had the best average attendance for 11 of the past 12 seasons, and drew 17,652 per game last season to their ground, the Lerkendal Stadion, which has a capacity of 21,620. This stadium was bought from the city and completely rebuilt circa 2000-02, using funds earned from the club’s then-annual UEFA Champions League appearances. Rosenborg made it to the promised land of the Champions League Group Stage 11 times in 12 seasons from 1995 to 2006 [in case you are wondering...yes Rosenborg actually progressed out of the CL Group Stage, twice, in fact, in 1996-97 and in 1999-2000].
Rosenborg has recently seen the return of Nils Arne Eggen, the most successful club manager in Norwegian history. Eggen returns for his 7th stint as manager of Rosenborg, which included the golden age of Rosenborg (circa 1988-2002).

The Lerkendal is the second biggest football stadium in Norway, only smaller than the 25,572-capacity Ullevaal Stadion, which is the national football stadium, in Norway’s largest and capital city, Oslo (city population of around 590,000, and a metropolitan area population of around 1.4 million {2010 estimate}).
The Ulevaal Stadion is also home to the only Oslo-based club currently in the Norwegian top flight, Valerenga Fotball. Valerenga were the club that broke the 13-year stranglehold that Rosenborg had on the championship, when they took the crown in 2004. This was Valerenga’s 5th title. Valerenga draw around 10,000 per game. The club has plans to build their own stadiium in Oslo. A notable ex-player is Aston Villa FW John Carew, who began his pro career with Valerenga.
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SK Brann are the second-best drawing club in Norway. Brann drew 15,931 per game in 2009. Brann come from the western Norway port city of Bergen, which is the second largest city in Norway (with a city population of around 255,00, and a metro-area population of around 382,000 {2010 estimate}), and is Norway’s main port and the center of the country’s maritime industry as well as the hub of Norway’s sizable oil and natural gas industries. Like Valerenga, Brann also have won a recent Norwegian premier League title, in 2007. This was Brann’s 3rd Norwegian league title. Brann Stadion holds a little over 17,000, and these days it’s usually close to being filled. Incidentally, though the structure looks pretty new and up-to-date (as you can see in the photo below), Brann Stadion was opened in 1919.
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The other club to have won a recent league title are the Greater Oslo-based Stabaek Fotball, who are from the suburban municipality of Fornebu, which borders the western edge of Oslo. Although the club has been around since 1912, Stabaek finally won their first league title in 2008. Stabaek play in an unusual ground…a 15,600 indoor arena (with, ugh, artificial turf) called the Telenor Arena.

Speaking of the dreaded artificial turf, this season in Norway, 7 of the 16 first division clubs play on artificial turf…Aalesunds FK, Honefoss BK, Kongsvinger, Odd Grenland, Stabaek Fotbal, Stromgodset IF, and Tromso IL. Tromso IL are the northernmost first-division football club in the world, and are from Tromso (population, 64,000), which is located within the Arctic Circle. I don’t think grass really grows too well up there, and playing on a bed of moss and lichen is not really practical, so one cannot really fault Tromso for playing on a plastic-turfed pitch.
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One other club in the 2010 Tippeligaen needs mentioning because of their past success and consistent abilty to draw crowds, and that’s Viking FK, of Stavranger, which is part of the third largest urban area in Norway (Stavranger/Sandnes metro area population, 297,000 {2010 estimate}). Viking was founded way back in 1889, but did not become a force in Norwegian football until the late 1950s, winning their first league title in 1958. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Viking were the dominant club in the country, winning 6 league titles in 11 years. Their last league title was won in 1991, and in the last decade Viking have not finished higher than 3rd (on three occasions). But Viking continue to draw well, and have been the third-highest drawing club in Norway for three years running. Viking averaged 13,071 per game in 2009, and the last time they threatened for the title, in 2007, they drew just over 17,000.
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One other point about the Norwegian Premier League. All three of the clubs relegated last year are venerable clubs…Fredrikstad FK, FK Bodo/Glimt, and FK Lyn Oslo. Fredrikstad were the original dominant club in the Norwegian top tier, winning 6 of the first 9 league titles. Fredrikstad’s 9 league titles makes them the second-most successful club in Norway, but their last league title was in 1960-61. Fredrikstad FK are from Fredrikstad, which is on the south-east side of the Ostdjord (it’s shown on the Greater Oslo/Oslofjord map segment on the main map page). Fredrikstad averaged 10,289 per game last season, so their relegation will put a dent in the 2010 Norwegian Premier League averarge attendance. This is especially true because the three just-promoted clubs…FK Haugesund, Honefoss BK, and Kongsvinger IL Topfotball, are all low-drawing minnows who averaged below 3,000 per game in the second tier last season.

Thanks to World Soccer magazine, for news of the Norwegian football scene, World Soccer.
Thanks to the E-F-S site, for attendance figures, E-F-S attendances.
Thanks to Football Derbies.com, and contributor Tromsoe, for Valeranga v. Lyn info,
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at en.wikipedia.org ’2010 Norwegian Premier League’.
Thanks to Tom Dunmore at Pitch Invasion site, for posting this map earlier this year, PitchInvasion.net.

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